Program & Facility Information

Place-based Nature Education in Billings

Welcome to our program information page! Scroll the list below for program descriptions, registration links, and more! To see a calendar-view of programs, go here.

Open House:

Come explore and enjoy the great outdoors! Ask a naturalist your burning questions, borrow a nature knapsack or field equipment, or rent a canoe to enjoy the ponds! Canoe rental free for members or $10/hr. Other activities free for all.

June through September: Saturdays 9am – 2pm and Wednesdays 4pm – 7pm.

Saturday Bird Strolls:

Enjoy a cool walk by the river and learn a few birds along the way. Great for beginning birders. Binoculars and guidebooks available to check out. Families welcome! $10/person, $5/students and children, members free.

April through September: every 2nd and 4th Saturday, 7am – 8:30am.

October through March: every 2nd Saturday, 8am – 9:30am.

Weekend Wonders Family Programs:

Monthly naturalist-led programs designed for all ages of explorers. Come and make some nature memories! Themes vary monthly (see calendar). $5/person, members free.

May 2018 – August 2018: 3rd Sunday of the month, 3pm – 4:30pm

Starting in Sept 2018: 3rd Saturday of the month, 3pm – 4:30pm

Nature Nuts:

Nature exploration comes naturally, especially for little kids! Children aged 1 to 4 (and an accompanying adult) join Montana Audubon teacher naturalists for guided outdoor play and learning about the local area. No registration required. $6/child or free for members. Different theme each week (check calendar).

June, July, and August: Every Tuesday and Friday from 10 – 11am.

Sept – May: Every Tuesday from 10 – 11am.

Special Events:

Looking for a great event you heard about at the Center? We have lots of special events, from bat hikes to photography workshops and more! Read about them here. All special events require pre-registration (look for the links on the calendar)

Bat Night Hike (June 29th and August 17th, 9 – 10:30pm). Dive into the mesmerizing world of bats! Join Megan O’Reilly from Montana FWP to learn cool bat facts, then head out with special acoustic equipment to find them. Free for all.

Bugs and Beers (July 20th, 8:30 – 10:30pm). Entomologist Marian Lyman Kirst will lead us on a unique investigation into insect night life. We’ll spotlight native arachnids and other interesting inverts during a night-hike around Norm’s Island. Back at the Center, we’ll use special equipment to attract nocturnal insects and spiders while we enjoy some local brews. $30/person (includes two pints of beer).

Flower Photography Workshop (July 14th, 7 – 8:30pm). This workshop is designed for beginner-to-intermediate photographers with a digital camera. We will focus on subject choice, composition, lighting, and how to use your camera in a manual setting. During the outdoor portion, participants will practice techniques for photographing native flowers and other plants on the grounds of the Center. Instructor Alina Garner is a lifestyle and family portrait photographer (www.alinagarner.com). $20/person.

Family Campfires:

A new summer tradition! Gather around the campfire and practice the skills you need to take your family outdoors. From what to pack, where to go, how to set up a tent, and how to be bear award, we’ll help you get ready to explore Montana’s great outdoors! $5/person, members free. All programs from 6:30 – 8:00pm.

June 8th, July 13th, August 10th, Sept 7th. Check program calendar for specific topics and registration info.

 

Coffee Walk with a Naturalist:

Join us for a cup of (bird-friendly!) coffee and a nature ramble. These easy-to-moderate walks focus on observing and learning about the natural world. Themes vary monthly (see calendar). Designed for adults and older children. $10/person, $5/students and children, members free.

June through August: 1st Saturday of the month, 9am – 10:30am.

September through May: 1st Saturday of the month, 10am – 11:30am.

Summer Camps:

Looking for a summer of outdoor learning and adventure? Check out our camp page!

Fledglings Nature Preschool:

One of the first nature preschools in Montana and the first in the Billings area, Fledglings Nature Preschool is founded on the idea that kids learn best through play and hands-on experiences. With 80% of school time spent outside on our 54-acre campus and adjacent public land along the Yellowstone River, our program and location offer endless opportunities for curious minds and bodies to grow, experiment, discover, and thrive. 2018-2019 registration begins March 1st.

Birthday Parties:

Click on the button to view our Birthday Party options — from canoeing to forest games to catching bugs!

Hands-on Homeschool Science:

Join the Center staff for inquiry-based, interdisciplinary, student-centered science and nature exploration at Billings’ only place-based nature education facility. Each class has a different theme; themes rotate on a three-year cycle.

Programs for ages 5 – 12 occur on Mondays and Thursdays (register for one or the other) from 2 – 3:45 in blocks of 4 and 8-week blocks. Four-week class $40/person, 8-week class $75/person. 10% member discount.

2018-2019 class schedule TBD.

School-year programs for kids K-6:

From September through May, we offer after-school programs and school break day camps. If your kids are looking for adventure during out-of-school hours, look no further. For more information, read below!

Afterschool Adventures in NatureAfter school is a great time to get outside! Our afterschool instructors guide students in outdoor exploration and learning about the natural world. Plenty of fun to be had and a great way to end a day in the classroom. 2018-2019 schedule TBA. 

School Break Day CampsDay off from school? Spend it outside! Montana Audubon Center break camps are built on the same structure as our summer camps: plenty of adventure and exploration in a safe, fun outdoor environment. All camps are held on-site at the Center and adjacent public lands and trails. Programming is diverse and educationally relevant. Back-to-back camps or those that bookend a weekend are designed for students to attend one OR all in the series. Camps are 8:00 – 3:00 (pack a lunch!) and occur when SD2 has days off.

Montana Master Naturalist:

This 40-hour course is designed for adults who want to deepen their knowledge of the natural world. We’ll cover everything from birds and insects to geology and plant ID. You’ll hone your naturalist skills as we practice journaling, animal tracking, and observation.

Course fee $250, Master Naturalist certification available for an additional $100 through the Montana Natural History Center. OPI or Continuing Education units available for $30. Professional development credits may also be arranged.

Spring 2018 class is full! Check back for information on future courses.

Facility Rental:

Looking for a unique place to hold an event? The Center’s 3200 square feet of indoor space and access to the trails and gardens of our campus are a great location for a business retreat, family party, or community meeting. Click on button for more details.

Scholarships:

We offer scholarships for our youth programs for up to 90% of cost. Eligible programs include break camps, homeschool, and summer camp. Scholarships are income-based, specific to program, and availability depends on funding. Find the application here.

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